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L’infinitif pr ésent. The inifinitive can be used as the subject of a sentence. When it’s negative, both elements of negation precede it. Vouloir c’est pouvoir . Where there’s a will, there’s a way. (Literally: To want is to be able.) Tout comprendre , c’est tout pardonner .

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The inifinitive can be used as the subject of a sentence. When it’s negative, both elements of negation precede it.
  • Vouloir c’est pouvoir.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

(Literally: To want is to be able.)

  • Tout comprendre, c’est tout pardonner.

To understand all is to forgive all.

  • Être ou ne pas être, voilà la question.

To be or not to be, that is the question.

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When a conjugated verb is followed by a second verb, it’s always an infinitive. Remember that either verb can be negative:
  • Mado ne veut pas parler de la guerre.
    • Mado does not want to talk about the war.
  • Mado préfère ne pas connaître la vérité sur Antoine.
    • Mado prefers not to know the truth about Antoine.
some verbs must be followed by the preposition before an infinitive
Some verbs must be followed by the preposition à before an infinitive:
  • Cette nuit-là, Pierre a réussi à se traîner jusqu’ici.
    • That night, Pierre managed to drag himself back here.
some verbs are followed by de before an infinitive
Some verbs are followed by de before an infinitive:
  • Et Fergus a demandé à mon mari de réunir tous ses amis résistants.
    • And Fergus asked my husband to get all of his friends in the Resistance together.
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The infinitive is also used as an imperative to give impersonal commands on public signs and to give directions in recipes.
  • Ne pas se pencher dehors.
    • Don’t lean out (of the window).
  • Ajouter la sauce. Saler et poivrer.
    • Add the sauce. Add salt and pepper.